Originally Posted by kunuggs
Very true. Jam band fans are quite elitist and very polarized in opinion. Just like gratefulshrink, I say start with early Dead (LOTS of material to sift through) and work your way from there.
Ah, I should have prefaced by saying that The Grateful Dead is pretty much conquered territory for me, since I own, and have actually listened to, most of the boxed sets. (I'm also set for Zappa and the Allmans, FWIW.) I'm more interested in the latest generations and, as I began, I'm pretty well sorted with Phish, but I don't see how the others "fit in": because Phish embraced everything from bluegrass to jazz, to funk, to reggae, to hard rock, I don't want to end up wasting time chasing a band that picked up influences that don't interest me (such as funk, reggae and bluegrass). It's more the jazz/rock/prog stuff that interests me.
From what I hear of the Disco Biscuits, their stuff is mainly trance electronica, which wouldn't interest me in the slightest. I love the King Crimson influence on Umphrey's McGee, but I'd like to know what jam bands can really open up a song rather than simply extending it.
Oh, and grawk, you missed the most important one: inability to sing
. Seriously, though, if you think that jam bands are underrehearsed you've been listening to the wrong jam bands.